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Green building projects are well known to companies in this field, as well as by investors and policy makers. The US is among the leaders in this sector, followed by Australia, Germany, Norway, the UK, Singapore, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Brazil.

A recent study by Market Research Future found that the global green building market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.12% from 2017 to 2023. It relies entirely on certifications provided by third-party organisations or national bodies and standards. However, government bodies have their own standards for green buildings which may conflict with third-party certifications or with other countries’ green building norms and policies. While government bodies may adopt unique conditions for green buildings that are difficult to replicate in other countries, third-party organisations design specific certifications for green buildings that sometimes cannot be compared to or aligned with other certifications.

“The PRI’s Market Map project has produced something that isn’t just aspirational; it’s operational. It offers a replicable analytical approach, based on a global consultative process, that is both structured and nuanced. For organisational leaders, executives, and investors, this document provides a pathway to the consistent application of criteria, which is critical to scaling impact, while also maintaining a clear focus on the reason for impact investing: the targeted impact itself”.

Mark Newberg, Director of Impact Strategies, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

This is because different certifications address different practices or technologies, from structural efficiency to energy efficiency, water efficiency, materials efficiency, as well as indoor environmental quality enhancement, operations and maintenance optimisation, and waste and toxics reduction.

The industry is also continually developing new approaches to more sustainable and green infrastructure. The market has seen the rise of net zero building constructions and green building projects that are aligned with the concept of the circular economy, including the net zero community concept.

The uniqueness of green buildings creates challenges and opportunities in developing a clear definition and measurements to frame this theme. Moreover, related literature does not separate green buildings from impact and mainstream investing, and it is fair to say that green building approaches, practices and products contribute directly to positive environmental and social impacts, including climate change mitigation and themes that are related to the circular economy and the SDGs.

market map green buildings

Against this backdrop, the PRI studied several reports, studies, analyses by certification agencies and global data providers to identify a common definition of green building investments. The approach taken was to identify a green building definition that was aligned with most of the available certifications and which provides a good baseline for generic investments in this field.

Definition: Green buildings

Companies that generate their revenues from buildings designed, constructed, operated, maintained, renovated and destroyed using environmentally-friendly and resource-efficient processes.


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    Impact investing market map

    August 2018